Sex, dating, and diabetes
Updated: Mar 19
Sex and diabetes- an awkward, but important topic.
For having such an overly sexualized culture, we are awfully shy when it comes to sex and our health. We all watch sex on tv and in movies, yet it is an uncomfortable topic to discuss with our clinicians or even with our own partners.
Diabetes can affect our sexual health in many ways. First, physiologically. Neuropathy caused by uncontrolled BGs does not just occur in our feet but can have a significant effect on our sex organs, as can decreased blood flow caused by the disease. Low libido can result from hormone imbalances. Men with diabetes (specifically type 2) and are overweight are twice as likely to suffer from low testosterone and women from vaginal dryness.
Depending on the level of dysfunction, some see significant improvements with better BG control. Even if they are not completely reversed, good BG control will prevent disease progression. Low testosterone can be treated with testosterone gels or injections, erectile dysfunction with PDE5-inhibitors, and vaginal dryness with lubrication or estrogen. Ultimately, if your sex life is not where you want it to be and you can have this conversation with your clinician, you’ve won half the battle.
Now what about dating with diabetes?
Diabetes can have a significant impact on sex and dating life. Telling someone you’re on a date with that you have diabetes can be a scary step, but an important one. I’ve found that the best thing to do is to just lay it all out there…confidently! Diabetes is so common now days and chances are, he/she has a good friend or family member with diabetes. Maybe it will even be a fun bonding experience.
When my fiancé first saw my pump he said, “Cool you have a pump! My cousin has a pump!”. Turns out, his cousin/best friend has had diabetes most of his life and my fiancé knew all about it! My point is…you just never know. Don’t underestimate someone as such a small person that they would judge something like your diabetes. Remember…there are so many more interesting things about you!
Getting naked with someone your dating can be awkward as well, especially if it’s the first time. I’d just like to point out that if someone is more worried about the fact that you have an insulin pump or a cgm than the fact that you are naked then there is NOTHING wrong with you, but there is DEFINITELY something wrong with them. GET OUT while you still can! HAH!
In all seriousness, my best advice is to have an open conversation with you partner. Don’t try to hide things…it’s not worth it! Give them the benefit of the doubt, I mean…you are dating them and if you can’t give them the benefit of the doubt then why date them?
My last piece of advice is to be confident! Confidence has been the key regarding my diabetes in all aspects of my life. I’ve found that hiding my pump or CGM only leads to suspicion and awkwardness. When I’m open with my diabetes and give people the chance to ask questions, they move on a lot more quickly. So be confident!